Foliage Follow Up – June 2018

A day late but am joining in with Pam’s Foliage Follow Up meme.  I thought I would share some photos of my front garden which is in transition from its spring bulbs to late summer perennials.  However, I am thrilled at how much texture and interest there is at the moment just from the foliage.

There are numerous grasses including Stipa tenuissima, Molinia ‘Skyracer’, and Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’. The verticals are added to with Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and another bronze leaved crocosmia which I don’t think I have ever known the name of, as well as a Phormium.

The horizontal leaves are made up of sedums, geraniums, euphorbia, rudbeckia, persicaria and asters.  Currently there is a pale chartreuse glow from the Alchemilla mollis. Airiness added with the bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare purpureum). The structure is provided by trees and shrubs including two different Sorbus, Grevillea‘Canberra Gem’, Grevillea victoriae, Corokia cotoneaster and Cotinus ‘Grace’.


Foliage Follow Up

Well lookee here two posts in three days! Anyway, I have been reading gardening posts this last few days especially those from across the pond because I am planning to go to the Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin in May and I want to reconnect with the blogs that inspired me some 9 years ago to start blogging.

One of the first blogs I started reading was Pam’s Digging.  Pam is based in Austin and her blog is very much about foliage plants especially those that thrive in the heat of Austin – lots of Agaves. I was fascinated by the different look of Pam’s garden and continue to find the difference fascinating. Anyway, Pam hosts a Foliage themed monthly blog on the 16th of each month, following on the day after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and having spent an hour or two starting to re-engage with the garden I thought I would do a foliage post, albeit 3 days late.

This combination is one of my favourites in the garden.  The Melianthus major IS my favourite foliage plant and I have three dotted around the garden, grown from seed some 5-6 years ago.  I especially love the leaves at this time of year when they sparkle with rain drops or morning frost. The abutilon was acquired three years ago and is thriving so much so that my son can’t see out of his workshop window sometimes.  In the top photo you can see Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’ which I have also had for a few years and has to be heavily pruned from time to time.

To the left of the Euphorbia is Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’, planted at the same time as the Euphorbia. This photo is an indicator of the state of the garden with one plant becoming swamped by another. It’s that fine line between the borders looking full and generous and looking neglected and overgrown.  I need to do some careful editing and some rejigging to give the plants more space but I have plans to gain a little more space by losing the top path which goes nowhere!

I have decided to embrace my love of foliage going forward which should have the benefit of keeping the garden looking interesting through most of the year.



Foliage Follow Up December 2014 – Variegation

Fatsia japonica 'Spiders Web'
Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’

If you were to ask me if I liked variegated foliage I wouldn’t immediately say yes but then again I wouldn’t immediately say no either.  It’s not something I have a firm opinion on and I don’t really understand why some people say such things as ‘I don’t like yellow flowers in my garden’ as there are so many shades of yellow, different shaped flowers and it depends on different light etc.  But I like foliage – a lot. So it isn’t that big a leap when you are fascinated with texture, colour and form of leaves and how they work together to start to develop an interest in variegation.


Walking around the garden to take foliage for this monthly meme hosted by Pam over at Digging I realised just how many variegated plants I have and of course at this time of year the variegated plants really come into their own.

Bergenia cordifolia 'Tubby Andrews'
Bergenia cordifolia ‘Tubby Andrews’

However, it is clear from these photographs that I prefer the white, grey, green variegations more than the yellow/green variegations.  I do like the Bergenia above but the yellow is a pale yellow rather than the bright yellow of plants such as Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ which I really don’t like at all.

Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium

I find the variation of the variegated foliage in Cyclamen hederifolium particularly fascinating.  You do get some amazing patterns and now that my cyclamen are seeding around the garden it will be interesting to see what new leaf patterns form. I really like the top almost silver form and if you look at the Arum picture above you can see some other silver leaves which are of a Pulmonaria seedling, which I am really pleased with and am hoping I will be able to divide.

Euphorbia characias 'Silver Swan'
Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’

And I will finish with my most obvious variegated plant in the garden – Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’ which is always magical when it has rained or there has been a frost or dew.

For more foliage follow up posts visit Pam at Digging in Austin.

Foliage Follow Up – November 2015

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Having managed to do the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post in a timely fashion this month I thought I would also join Pam over at Digging in the Foliage Follow Up.  I have read Pam’s blog ever since I started blogging some 8 years ago and met her when I went to the Garden Bloggers Fling in San Francisco.  Having a growing preference for foliage it is a logical meme for me to join but I often find myself thinking oh I have shown this or that and so I don’t join in.  This month it dawned on me, I can be a little slow at times, that I should show some of the foliage on my decidious plants so this month I am focussing on the Birch jacquemontii which lives in my front garden.

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My sons bought the tree for me probably about 8 years ago and I love it.  Its one of the few plants that I will be upset to leave if I ever move house and I keep an eye out for seedlings which I might be able to pot up but they are few and far between.  I see this tree every morning from my bedroom window when I look out to see what the weather gods have decided to present us with and it struck me yesterday morning what a wonderful colour the leaves had turned.

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Due to our mild temperatures this Autumn the leaf colour seems to be changing quite slowly and amazingly the birch seem to be hanging on to the leaves despite the strong winds we have had.  The leaves look almost orange in the photographs but this morning in the dull light of an overcast day there was a distinct pale yellow glow to the tree.

So there’s my foliage follow up post this month, not a succulent or evergreen leaf to be seen, makes a change for me.  To see more fabulous foliage pop over to Pam’s Austin garden and check out the comments box for other links.

Foliage Follow Up – March 2015 – Geranium palmatum


This month I have decided to focus on one particular plant for the foliage follow up as I keep showing the same old plants month in, month out.  My chosen plant is Geranium palmatum which I personally think is a wonderful foliage plant before the electric pink flowers appear.  Read any description of the plant and you will see it is frost hardy and short lived.  I have a number of these plants grown from seed several years ago and they have come through the last two winters unscathed although admittedly the winters have been mild.  I think the lowest temperature we have had is -4C.  However, we have had some real frosts which have left the Melianthus major leaves scorched but the most the Geranium palmatum has suffered is some of the older leaves going a blotchy red colour.


I like the leaves as they have a nice ferny texture to them and quite different to other geraniums.  They are called palmatum I think due to the palm leaf shapes.  You will also see how fresh and glossy the leaves are even in March and they stay like this all year.  The only maintenance is to remove the older leaves as they fade.


And look at this wonderful fresh new shoots forming in the middle.  As you can see Geranium palmatum grows from a central stem, like Geranium madrense, so cannot be divided like many other Geraniums.  I think the only way of propagating it is by seed and I plan to collect some seed this year as an insurance policy in case we have a hard winter this year.  But….2015_03150007what really fascinated me where the shiny red leaflets clustered around the leaf stems.  So vibrant and attractive and I don’t remember having spotted them before.  I only noticed them when I was cutting back dead leaves and weeding around the plant and became completely fascinated by them. They remind me of onion skins, the ones just under the dry outer skins, almost silk like. Its amazing what you discover when you really look at your plants.

For more Foliage Follow Up posts visit Pam over at Digging


Foliage Follow-Up – January 2015

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus'
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’

Despite the wintery showers this last week there is still plenty of foliage in the garden.  I do like evergreen foliage. I know that there are many winter shrubs which have flowers before the leaves but I like to see some green outside on a grey day.  One of the stalwarts of my garden is the prostrate rosemary which grows over the patio wall.  It has been there some 6 or 7 years maybe even longer and has come through at least two very cold winters.  I tend to take it for granted but at this time of yet it is a star not just for me but for the bees that feed on its nectar.

Choisya ternata Sundance
Choisya ternata Sundance

Choisya is another plant which really earns it keep in the winter.  I know there are some that don’t like the yellowish foliage but I find it welcome.

Melianthus major
Melianthus major

And it wouldn’t be a foliage follow up post without featuring my favourite Melianthus major which just glows in the winter sun.

Watsonia pallida
Watsonia pallida

Close to the Melianthus is a collection of Watsonia pallida which is looking particularly good in the sun at the moment.  I do like the strappy leaves they provide a nice contrast throughout the year to other foliage such as Geranium palmatum below



The Acanthus mollis foliage is still looking good although you will see that some of the leaves are spattered and this is mud which has been splattered up in the heavy rain we have recently had.  I do like the glossy leaves which is lucky as it is an impossible plant to remove from the garden!

Dryopteris erythrosora
Dryopteris erythrosora

Many of the ferns are looking good with their wintergreen foliage.  I particularly like the Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern) as the leaves are yellowish and come the summer they will take on a more orangeish hue.  Like some of the other foliage on this post this plant seems to catch the winter sun very well.

Euphorbia pasteurii ‘Phrampton  Patty’
Euphorbia pasteurii ‘Phrampton Patty’

Finally a sun kissed Euphorbia pasteurii ‘Phrampton  Patty’ which is thriving having been planted a year ago.

So those our my foliage highlights this month.  For more foliage posts visit Pam over at Digging

Foliage Follow-Up – December 2014


I have found it much easier to come up with shots for the Foliage Follow Up post this month than the Garden Blogger Bloom Day post.  I love foliage and I think it really comes into its own at this time of year. A favourite since childhood is Stachys byzantina, or as we called it when I was little, Lambs Ear.


Sticking to the grey tones there is Pulmonaria which has been self seeding around the garden for some years.  I’m not that keen on the flowers but the leaves are a lovely foil to spring bulbs and you often get different variation.  I am sure I heard someone say that if you cut the leaves back, as you would a geranium, after flowering you got a better plant so I might give this a go.


The everyday Digitalis purpurea has also started to self-seed around the garden and I think it has quite a structural presence in the garden.


I like Bergenias which I know isn’t a view shared by all gardeners.  I think their glossy foliage is excellent at this time of year especially those varieties which colour up for Autumn.  They are one of those plants that just get on with it and then when everything else has given up for the year you notice them.


One more self-sower is the Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’.  They do produce flowers but it is the foliage and the seedheads in the Autumn.

For more foliage posts from around the world visit Pam over at Digging

Foliage Follow Up – June 2014


I thought I would focus the Foliage Follow Up post on one border this month.  This is the border which is most dependent on good foliage to look good.  I have called it the Japanese Fern Border in the past as I planted it up with mainly Japanese ferns but as you can see the Impatiens omieana has started to dominate the space.  I have already had to lift and remove the Cautleya spicata ‘Arun Flame’ and relocate it to the Hardy Exotic Border.

Impatiens omieana
Impatiens omieana

Tucked in beside the Impatiens is a Saxifraga fortunei ‘Wada’s Form’.  I do like its glossy foliage which I  much prefer to Heucheras.

Saxifraga fortunei ‘Wada’s Form’
Saxifraga fortunei ‘Wada’s Form’

However the majority of the planting is ferns and I am stunned at how quickly they have grown in the last year. 

Japanese holly fern
Japanese holly fern

The Japanese Holly Fern was the fern that started off the theme and I think probably the fern that really caught my attention and interest in ferns which just continues to grow.  I love its glossy fronds and it keeps these through the winter although at this time of year the old fronds need removing.

Cyrtomium fortunei,
Cyrtomium fortunei

Another Holly Fern, Cyrtomium fortunei, which has more delicate fronds and isn’t so glossy.  This plant has struggled a little due to the huge prostrate rosemary which overhangs it from the wall above and is cutting out some light and quite a bit of moisture.

Rosmarinus officinalis Prostratus Group
Rosmarinus officinalis Prostratus Group

There are a few more ferns, a couple of Athryium Burgandy Lace one of which is behind the Japanese Holly Fern and seriously struggling partly because of the rosemary but also because I hadn’t anticipated the Japanese Holly Fern growing so tall so quickly.


Tucked in front of the Athryium Burgandy Lace is Polystichum Tsus-simense and there is another Polystichum just behind, this time Polystichum polyblepharum. I do like the various textures and shades of green.  However, sitting looking at the border this Sunday with my eldest he commented that the rosemary was swamping the space from above and why didn’t I cut it back?  Good point and well over due the rosemary got a hair cut.  I decided to remove lots of branches from under the canopy as this was a very woody space and I wanted to retain the healthy looking leaves.  As you can see the size of the plant is drastically reduced but I think it will benefit from the prune and it has opened up the space below to air and rain although the border now has a thick mulch of old rosemary spines.


For more Foliage Follow Up posts visit Pam over at Digging

Foliage Follow-up – April 2014

Fatsia Spidersweb
Fatsia Spidersweb

This month’s foliage post features some new acquisitions, some of which are destined for the new hardy exotic border.  I am particularly pleased with the Fatsia Spidersweb which I bought from Cotswold Garden Flowers the other week.  I have been considering  buying one since the end of last year but as I already have two fatsias I thought one more would be one too many.  But then whats another Fatsia especially when the foliage is as wonderful as above.

Tetrapanax papyrifer rex
Tetrapanax papyrifer rex

To go alongside the Fatsia I have splashed out on a Tetrapanax papyrifer rex.  I have never grown one of these before and it is more borderline than I am used to risking in the border but I love the foliage and I think it’s a must for the new border.

Asarum splendens
Asarum splendens

I do like the Asarum with its mottled and crumpled leaves.  For some reason when I look at this photograph I am reminded of a frog but maybe I need to have some more sleep.

Sciadopitys verticillata
Sciadopitys verticillata

Another new acquisition, back in February when I visited RHS Wisley, is this Sciadopitys verticillata.  This plant isn’t destined for the new border but for a large pot on the steps.  I just couldn’t resist the texture of the spines, they are very tactile.


Finally, some hostas which are really making their presence felt at the moment. I have had this variety of hosta for years and it has moved house with me at least once, if not twice and I have absolutely no idea what variety it is.  I also don’t know if this variety is particularly obnoxious to slugs but it rarely gets eaten even in a wet summer.

For more foliage posts pop over to Pam’s Digging site – I am predicting there will be Agaves but no doubt lots of other wonderful plants, many of which will be new to me.